Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

One of the oldest continuously-operating restaurants in D.C. is German, the venerable Old Europe on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park, which opened in 1948. Beyond it, Washington boasts relatively few German eateries these days. That wasn’t always the case. In the late 19th century, after a wave of German immigrants settled in the area, German restaurants were common and among the city’s best. The thriving local beer industry, also dominated by Germans, went hand in glove with the restaurant business. Here are the stories of four of the most successful German eateries from the turn of the last century, all located on or near Pennsylvania Avenue downtown.

Hotel Engel
Postcard from Engel’s Hotel and Restaurant, circa 1900 (author’s collection).

One of the best known was Fritz Reuter’s. Reuter (1862-1906) had been born in Hanover and came to the U.S. when he was 21 years old. After spending a year in Baltimore, he moved to Washington to work in a saloon. He opened up his own gasthaus (inn and restaurant) in 1889 on the northwest corner of 4½ Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The building he took over had been a boardinghouse for many years in the early part of the century. Run by a Mrs. Elizabeth Peyton, it had catered to congressmen, Supreme Court justices, and other statesmen, including John Marshall, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun. (more…)

1538 9th Street, NW

From the National Park Service:

“The National Park Service announced today that Perini Management Services was awarded a $5.6 million contract to begin restoring the Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site. This contract is for the first phase of a three-phase project. Phase one will restore the interior and exterior of Dr. Woodson’s home and stabilize the adjacent buildings.

“This is a major step in opening Dr. Woodson’s home for people to visit,” Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said. “The National Park Service is committed to sharing our nation’s history, and restoring, preserving and opening his home will help people learn about and honor Dr. Woodson’s work and legacy.”

Phase one of construction will begin in early June 2015 and is expected to last 12-18 months. Once this phase is complete, the public will be able to visit the Woodson Home on a limited basis through pre-arranged tours.”


If you have a photo of a neat find from your house or place of work please send an email to princeofpetworth(at) thanks. To those who have I sent – I promise I’m working through the queue!

A reader sends in from Chateau Du Sherm:

“While doing some work in the crawlspace of my 1911 rowhouse on Sherman Ave, I found a couple of interesting items (among many uninteresting ones) that I thought I’d share.

The first is a “Try-Me” soda bottle. The side of the bottle says “Drink Try-Me Beverages,” and the bottom says “Washington, DC Patented April 24, 1924.”

This website had some interesting history on the company. In particular, it notes the following about Try-Me: “A flavored beverage manufacturer, the company flourished from around 1924 to 1956, primarily in the southeast but also as far west as Oklahoma and as far north as New York State. Its headquarters ultimately were located at 1345 Florida Avenue NE, Washington, DC.”

I also found an old horseshoe, and not the kind used in the game. This one is quite small compared to the ones you throw, still has nails protruding from it, and is extremely worn on one side.”


arch finds

Photo by PoPville flickr user Timothy Wooten

Summary of today’s WWII Arsenal of Democracy Flyover:

“Seventy years after Allied forces won the world’s freedom in Europe, 56 vintage World War II airplanes celebrated Victory in Europe Day in a tremendous display of airpower and history before a crowd of thousands gathered along the National Mall in Washington, DC.

The Arsenal of Democracy: World War II Victory Capitol Flyover included aircraft flying in 15 historically sequenced formations that represented the major battles of the war, starting with Pearl Harbor and ending with a missing man formation led by Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO) in a TBM Avenger, the same model of airplane former President George H.W. Bush flew when he was shot down overseas.

Under a nearly perfect sky, the event honored the men and women who flew and fought in the war, and those at home who manufactured the planes, ships, and tanks that allowed the Allies to secure victory. Among those in attendance for the historic flyover were more than 400 veterans of World War II, drawn to both the commemoration of VE Day and the unprecedented display of vintage military aircraft. For many, it was the first time they had seen these types of airplanes since they saw them over the skies of Europe and the Pacific more than seven decades ago.

The planes flew at 1,000 feet, making them easily visible to onlookers from the ground. A live webcast provided narration about the planes and their role in the battles to Americans across the country. All of the airplanes returned successfully to either Manassas or Culpeper Regional Airport except for one that made a precautionary landing at Reagan National Airport.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Nathan Castellanos

“Newman Row, first houses built in Petworth 8th Street between Upshur and Varnum, March 1893″

I’ve been doing this blog coming on 9 years now and this might be coolest email I’ve ever received:

“I have found very old photos from my family, who were early builders/residents of DC. Apparently they built a row of houses that were the “first in Petworth” in 1893, back then called Newman’s Row. My paternal grandfather’s family’s name is Newman and the homes were at 8th and Upshur.”

Thanks so much to Connie for sharing her family’s photos – they are jaw droppingly spectacular.

“Newman residence, first in Petworth 1893″ (These are Newmans)

“View west from Newman Residence, 8th and Upshur 1893″

“Newman Row Petworth 1894″

8th and Upshur Street, NW Today:

looking north on 8th towards Varnum

looking east on Upshur towards New Hampshire

looking west on Upshur towards Georgia

Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore
Unknown/from Washingtoniana Division, D.C. Public Library

A reader tweets us:

“The woman behind #DC #cherryblossoms: Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore. Her story should be told!”

From Wikipedia:

“It was on their return to Washington, D.C. in 1885 that Eliza had her famous idea of planting Japanese cherry trees in the capital. Scidmore found little interest in her cherry tree idea, but more in her impressions of Alaska, the subject of her first book, Alaska, Its Southern Coast and the Sitkan Archipelago (1885). She joined the National Geographic Society in 1890, soon after its founding, and became a regular correspondent and later the Society’s first female trustee…

Scidmore’s cherry blossom scheme began to bear fruit when incoming first lady Helen Taft took an interest in the idea in 1909. With the first lady’s active support, plans moved quickly, but the first effort had to be aborted due to concerns about infestation. Subsequent efforts proved successful, however, and today many visitors enjoy the sakura of West Potomac Park and other areas of the capital, particularly during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Ryan Chiachiere